Woman launches claim against San Diego after freak accident where tree branch dropped onto her as she walked

  • Lorin Toeppe crushed by a tree in public park
  • Says she is suing San Diego to ensure the safety of others
  • Case follows similar $7.6 million lawsuit

By Daily Mail Reporter


A woman is suing the city of San Diego after being severely injured by a tree that fell on her in a park.

Lorin Toeppe, a physical therapist, was left in head-to-toe bandages after a freak accident in July at De Anza Cove.

The 31-year-old was walking along a bike path with her boyfriend when a huge branch snapped from the eucalyptus tree above and crashed down ontop of her.

'The last thing I remember is hearing a crack,' she said.

Suing San Diego

Lorin Toeppe has launched a lawsuit against San Diego after being involved in a nasty accident with a tree in a public park

Suing San Diego

Lorin Toeppe recieved five fractures in her face, among other injuries, when a tree fell on her in De Anza Cove park

The accident left Toeppe, an avid volleyball player, with a crushed leg and multiple fractures to her spine and face.

'Right now I'm giving myself IV antibiotics five times a day,' she told 10News.

Toeppe is claiming that, while the incident was obviously an act of mother nature, it could been prevented by maintenance.

'If the branch had been trimmed this wouldn't have happened,' she said.

Footage taken on a cellphone moments after the tree fell show how several people ran over to try and rescue Toeppe.

Suing San Diego

Scary: This footage shows people trying to get Lorin Toeppe out from under a massive branch following the accident in July

Suing San Diego

Help: LorinToeppe is assisted by paramedics following her accident in July

Toeppe said that by launching the claim she is trying to ensure the safetly of others..

'I don't want this happen to anybody else - it's not fair,' she said.

There is a powerful precedent to her lawsuit.


In 2010, Michael Burke, a local attorney, took a crippling blow when a queen palm crashed down on him in the street.

When he woke in hospital doctors told him he was paralyzed.

He sued the city of San Diego and won $7.6 million in damages.

Suing San Diego

Precedent: Michael Burke was granted $7.6 million after suing San Diego. He was left paralyzed in 2010 following this accident in the street. He was crushed by a falling palm tree

Suing San Diego

Support: Michael Burke, a lawyer, is helping Lorin Toeppe in her case after successfully suing San Diego himself

'If the city got the message (Toeppe) wouldn't be here,' he said.

'We still have an issue in San Diego as to tree maintenance and this is the inevitable consequence.'

A spokesman for the city of San Diego Park and Recreation Department, Bill Harris, issued a statement about the lawsuit, saying they believe the accident was 'isolated'.

'The claim filed today will be thoroughly investigated by the City's Risk Management Department, as are all claims filed against the city,' the statement said.

'The incident documented in this claim involves an unfortunate and highly unusual event.

'The City maintains thousands and thousands of trees both along City streets and throughout its large network of parks and open space areas.

'Both City staff and outside contractors are assigned to address any issues regarding health, safety and emergencies related to City trees.

'The current claim is a serious matter that the City will address it with all due diligence.

'We remain confident that this unfortunate incident is an isolated and highly unusual event and does not reflect any broader condition for City trees.